The Rise of Skank

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In the most recent season of South Park, the plot revolved around the trolling activity of a middle-aged dad. Under the pseudonym Skank Hunt 42, Gerald Broflovski becomes hell-bent on attacking random people of all kinds of social status via the internet. The “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” article did a great job of explaining the various components of trolling. Trolling is no longer small, isolated incidents only against powerful people. Today, no person or group is safe. The internet can be a downright shitty place sometimes. There are countless meme pages and faceless avatars who are dedicated to ridiculing anything with a pulse. Granted, one of the main components of comedy we have discussed in class is how comedy is tragedy plus time. But many of these situations are occurring right now? Are these jokes and memes so cold and heartless that we laugh simply as a nervous reaction? Or are we laughing from a position of superiority-to the person or group being made fun of or feeling superior because “we would never make such a heinous joke”?  The question I have is have we always been this dark and have just been doing a good job of controlling our urges, or are we just becoming more and more vile towards others? The internet provides a shield for the most part… We can try to be anonymous as possible to avoid being tracked and having to face the consequences of our words. While it is possible, most people do not take the time to figure out who is behind the screen. The scary part of trolling is how it builds on itself. Once one person has the balls to make fun of someone, more and more people will join in. This is where the problem with trolling lies. If you speak out against it, you risk objectifying yourself to more ridicule. If these pricks know they can get a rise out of someone, why would they stop? That’s the whole point of why they’re doing what they’re doing! While there is freedom of expression, is trolling an example of it gone too far?

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